- マス・コミュニケーション研究 (ISSN:13411306)
- vol.81, pp.143-161, 2012-07-31 (Released:2017-10-06)
This study aims to clarify the characteristics of the readers' column in the Japan Times during World War II. Founded in 1897 with the support of the government, businessmen, and researchers, the newspaper was expected to produce Japanese propaganda after the Manchurian Incident in 1931. Previous studies have tried to examine Japanese propaganda through the analysis of the editorials in the newspaper. However, very little has been written about the readers' column, which was laid out beside the editorial and was supposed to be a forum for free speech. This article focuses on the Asama Maru Incident (January 21^<st>, 1940) - a scandal that provoked an anti-British campaign in the Japanese-language press and eventually propelled Japan into World War II - to reveal how the readers' column in the Japan Times was a forum for open international discussion. From when the incident occurred (January 21) to when some of the captured Germans were released in Yokohama (March 2) , 13 out of a total of 66 letters published in the readers' corner were about the Asama Maru Incident. An analysis of the writers, who were from England, Japan, and Germany (in addition to a few anonymous writers) , reveals that eight were pro-Britain and five were anti-Britain. In comparison, the Japanese-language press was completely anti-Britain and the two other English papers were completely on the side of Britain and the U.S. during the same period. I conclude that this column functioned as an 'asylum for foreign people's free speech' in order to make the Japanese propaganda in the rest of the paper more effective and palatable. I also point out that the messages in the column, the editorial and the translations from the Japanese press functioned in a mutually complementary manner to each other with regard to the propaganda in the Japan Times. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for understanding public diplomacy in English-language media.